Reggia di Caserta: A Hidden Gem of Italy

When traveling to the southern half of Italy there are many sights to see.

You might want to soak up the sun off of the Amalfi Coast, visit the ghost town of Pompeii, or even see the volcano that caused its dismay from the Bay of Naples in the bustling city.

But, what if I told you that some of the best sights are off the beaten path that previous tourists have paved? A great example of this is a palace hidden away in southern Italy. Most people know it as “the place they filmed Star Wars”, but there is so much more to it than that!

Reggia di Caserta: The Hidden Gem

Nestled away in a small town named Caserta is the Reggia di Caserta, which translates to Royal Palace of Caserta in English.

Caserta lies in the Campania region of Italy, and is located less than an hour from the city of Naples. This region is best known for its rugged coastlines and rich historic sights, which the place is no exception to.

Reggia di Caserta began its construction in 1752 by Charles VII of Naples. The palace wasn’t finished until the 1800’s when his son decided to take over and complete the lifelong project. The finished product came with 5 floors, 1,200 rooms, and a 120 hectares long park.

Today, the palace is recognized as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site. This means that the palace has cultural significance to the country and the citizens that live here.

So, why should you visit Reggia di Caserta?

  • Next, you get to explore the 120-hectares of fountains and shrubbery that extend behind the palace. You will find locals jogging along the reflecting pools, getting in their daily workout. You will also find families having picnics among the luscious grass and hedges.

    As you explore the land behind the palace it will become clear that Reggia di Caserta is a place where residences of the town like to spend their day. The beauty of this space holds something for all ages; shade for adults to relax and a small play castle for children to exhaust their imagination!

    At the very back of the park you will find the fountain of Diana and Acteon. This fountain beautifully illustrates the Roman tale of the two, and adds to the magical element of the palace.

  • I have a secret tip for you! Above this grand fountain you will see a tower sitting atop of the cascading water. If you are lucky, the stairs to the tower will be open; which are located to the right and left of the Diana and Acteon sculptures. If you are one of the lucky ones to make the ascend, you will see the Palace from above; just as Luigi Vanvitelli meant for those to see his completed work.
  • Another thing to check out is the English Garden. After walking to the very back of the park you will notice a path to your right. This path leads to the botanical garden which houses plants and flowers from around the world, beautiful sculptures, and hidden waterfalls.

    You can walk around and see the actual ruins of Pompeii that were transported to the 24-hectare garden, just adding to its beauty. Stop and take a walk through the Cryptoporticus, which is masterfully replicated to look like a Pompeiian ruin.

    If you are looking for a place to rest, take a seat next to the Bath of Venus. Admire the statue of Venus as she dips into the pond, and take in the breathtaking waterfall while kicking back and relaxing.

  • So, I talked about what there is to do in the daytime at the palace, but what about in the evening? At night, the palace shuts its doors to everyone, the business is closed for another day. But, the square welcomes locals and visitors to mingle on the grounds.

    Many nights I would sit at the square with my friend, drinking wine and eating food, while talking to the other locals. We would light sparklers and set off paper lanterns, it truly was magical! 

    At night, the palace is lit up every color you can imagine, even the colors of the Italian flag!

Overall, Reggia di Caserta is a sight that most travelers do not know about. It is a hidden gem nestled in a town that is a sight to see itself.

When traveling it’s important to see the sights you want, but it’s also amazing to see the sights many do not know about!


Scotland’s Golf field

Scotland’s Golf Courses – Breathtaking Hidden Gems You Need to Include in Your Travel Plans

 

Even though the origins of the game are unclear, most historians accept that modern-day golf originated in Scotland during the middle ages.

Various early versions of golf existed throughout Europe, where the objective was to put a ball inside a hole a few hundred yards away with the least number of strokes. In Scotland, the game was first played on linksland, a specific kind of coastal land with a wind-sculpted terrain, near present-day Edinburgh. The first documentation of golf in Scotland was in 1457 when King James II banned the sport because it was leading to a neglect of military practices. However, people mostly ignored the ban.

Golf gained the royal popularity when King James IV of Scotland became the first monarch to play golf. In the modern world, everyone who has even yielded a golf club has a wish to visit the Scottish golf courses. Scotland is not only famous for its golf courses located at spectacular locations, but also for the taste of Scottish hospitality at the clubhouses, also known as the 19th hole.

When golfers from all over the world consider a visit to Scottish golf courses, the immediate names that come to mind are the historic layouts of St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Dornoch, and Muirfield. Then on the list would be Troon, Prestwick, Turnberry, Kingsbarn, and Castle Stuart, not necessarily in that order. Scotland has over 600 golf courses, packed into a small country.

When someone is making a trip of a lifetime across the Atlantic, it is natural to wish to tick the iconic golfing destinations off your list. But if you are looking for an alternative golf tour experience at a much more serene and quieter location, there are many hidden gems with stunning views and unsurpassable quality. Many companies provide tailor-made luxury golf tours of Scotland. These Scotland golf packages are made to satisfy every golfer’s requirements and their budget. So next time you are planning a golfing tour to the land where the game was born, look out for these names.

Nairn Golf Course

Nairn is a small town situated on the edge of Moray Firth, 16 miles away from Inverness. Nairn is home to a championship links course which hosted the Walker Cup in 1999 and is one of the finest courses located in the highlands. The course has an interesting variety, with stunning views of the water throughout the course. It is a must-play for anyone planning to visit Dornoch or Castle Stuart.

The Balcomie Links at Crail Golf Club

Many visitors notice Crail along the coastline when they are at the 12th tee at Kingsbarns Links. But sadly most of them do not think of coming over to the 7th oldest golf club of the world. Crail golfing society has two spectacular courses. Balcomie Links is the older of the two and can boast of stunning vistas of the Firth of Forth.

Shiskine

The 12 hole course at Shiskine located on the Isle of Arran will make you want to forget everything about conventional golf. You will be blown away by the beautiful scenery around you as much as the design of the course. Tucked away in a small coastal village of Blackwater foot, the course overlooks the Mull of Kintyre. It was designed by Willie Fernie who is well known for designing Royal Troon and Turnberry. The layout climbs over Durmadoon point to the top of the cliff and then slopes down along the coastline.

Brora Golf Club

Brora is a classic links course that might be a little out of the way but is worth it as a phenomenal course. It is located a bit far north, about 16 miles from Dornoch. The small village of Brora is a wonderful experience in itself. The course is said to be one of James Braid’s finest and has been preserved in its original condition which gives you a sense of stepping back into time when the game was just invented.

Glen Golf Course, North Berwick

The county of East Lothian is one of the most famous golfing destinations in the world. Therefore it is quite surprising that there are still a few hidden gems along this glorious golfing coastline. Glen is a perfect example of an extraordinary course existing in the shadows of a famous one. The reference is meant for the North Berwick golf course. Glen might not be a very long course, but it certainly makes up for that with exhilarating views of the Bass Rock with Firth of Forth in the backdrop.

Boat of Garten

The course is dubbed as the Gleneagles of the north. With a backdrop of the Cairngorms mountains, Boat of Garten is situated right in Scotland’s most popular winter sports destination. A series of holes spread across a gorgeous undulating terrain with the mountains in the background might just give you the sense of playing in paradise.

Just a Few of the Hidden Gem of Scotland Golf Courses

Although these are only a few of the hidden gems amongst Scotland’s golf courses, they deserve to be included in your itinerary as much as the well-known ones. Each of these golf courses is beautifully located, challenging, and is worthy of ranking amongst the best golf courses in the world that offer a true taste of golf.